How Would You Like Eternal Life…for Your Brand?

Paul Sklar, Commercial Lead—Innovation Search & Evaluation

Most of us are attracted to what’s new. And that's understandable because what's new might be faster or tastier or have more capabilities. But on the other hand, we also value things we trust, and often we trust things more when they've been proven by the test of time.

The miracle of truly successful brands is that they combine both the old and the new. Consider the example of TUMS®. TUMS is an astonishing 89 years old and has offered and delivered the same basic promise—to quickly relieve your heartburn and upset stomach caused by acid indigestion—for that entire time. It's no wonder consumers trust TUMS. What's more, TUMS is always renewed through innovations like new flavours (e.g., assorted berries), new forms (e.g., SmoothiesTM, Chewy Delights®, and recently Chewy Bites®), new strengths (e.g., Ultra) and new claims (e.g., 'goes to work in seconds'). Combining the trust achieved through longevity of brand purpose and character with the news value of relevant contemporary innovations can lead to strong, lasting sales. For example, in the last 12 months, TUMS retail sales in the USA alone substantially exceeded $200 million.

Look at the table below. TUMS is not GSK Consumer Healthcare's oldest brand—not even close. Here are 2 other examples. Horlicks was invented in 1873, but today (144 years later), it is the largest selling nutritional drink brand in India, and it now features DHA for brain health. ENO®, GSK Consumer Healthcare's oldest brand, which is now available in a cooling formulation packed in individual sachets, still sells strongly in Brazil and many other countries. That's an incredible 165 years after it was invented by James Crossley Eno in 1852.


What do these remarkable examples of brand longevity mean for you as an innovator and a business person? Consider these 3 circumstances:

  1. You've developed a new technology or enhancement that improves the functionality of an existing healthcare product category. Will that be most successful launched on its own or even as an improvement to a small brand? Doubtful. Chances are you'll reach the most people, enable your product to do the most good, and, by the way, reap the greatest financial rewards by partnering with a powerful, trusted brand with staying power. Innovative NovaMin® technology and the iconic Sensodyne® brand combined to generate the very successful Sensodyne Repair & Protect line in many countries outside the USA.
  2. You've developed a new technology that is so revolutionary it needs to be a new brand. Will that new brand be most successful launched by you? As smart as you are, it's doubtful. Chances for your new brand improve when it's launched by a company with experience nurturing brands and deep healthcare product development, regulatory, marketing, and selling resources. GSK successfully launched Abreva®, the first OTC product FDA approved to shorten cold sore healing time, from scratch in 2000 and its retail sales exceed $100 million annually 17 years later.
  3. You have a successful prescription brand but it will lose patent protection and over 90% of its users within one year later. Should you just let it die? Or consult a company who might be able to switch your brand and help it live forever? Branded IMS-reported prescriptions for Flonase® had dwindled to less than 40 thousand in 2014, but after GSK successfully switched Flonase, IRI reported Flonase OTC sales of over 15 million packages in 2015.

While I'm admittedly biased, I hope you'll contact GSK Consumer Healthcare and that we can work together to give your technology or brand eternal life.